GBC official quits to take Mass. job

October 16, 1992|By Liz Bowie | Liz Bowie,Staff Writer

Thomas J. Chmura, who helped shape a vision for Baltimore's economic future, is moving to an economic development job at the University of Massachusetts.

The Greater Baltimore Committee's deputy director said he was lured away by Michael Hooker, the former president of the University of Maryland Baltimore County, during an August vacation in Maine. Mr. Hooker became the president of University of Massachusetts this year.

The two men were instrumental in convincing the region's business community that life sciences and high-tech companies could become the future economic base for Baltimore and the state.

Officials at the Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC), a group of business leaders, said they had not decided whether to replace Mr. Chmura, who will leave in December.

Hired nearly four years ago after writing a report critical of the area's higher education system, Mr. Chmura had a background in studying the relationship between economic development and higher education.

In his new job as vice president for economic development on the University of Massachusetts' five- campus system, Mr. Chmura said, he would finally have the opportunity to do what he has written about and studied over the course of his career.

"In his unique way he has begun to change the way this commmunity thinks about economic development and to some extent higher education," said Robert Keller, the GBC's executive director. "In my mind, he is a major national thinker."

"His overall management and leadership in the effort has been extraordinary," said William Jews, chief executive of Dimensions Health Corp. and head the GBC's life sciences initiative.

In his job at the GBC, Mr. Chmura often nudged the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University to transfer their scientific expertise out of the laboratory into commercial enterprises.

He will begin setting up a full-scale technology transfer office at the University of Massachusetts as well as help develop a research park and incubator to help small companies grow.

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